Book settings are almost as important to the story as the main characters. Not only do they craft the environment in which our new friends live, they also create the mood for the book. For instance, a book set in New York City doesn’t have the same ambiance as one set in rural Montana – and vice versa. As a native Texan it’s only natural for me to feature the land I love.
For Summer After Summer I used the Guadalupe River for the book setting. When I was a kid the river was our playground. We swam, water skied and picnicked. As teenagers – well, that was a bit more R-rated, but still it was a ton of fun. My characters Jazzy and Charlie had their own special hideaway down by river. It was a place where their teenage love blossomed, and later where they discovered a more mature love.
But a bit more about the river. On its 432 mile trip from its origin in the Texas Hill Country to the Gulf of Mexico the cold, green water of the Guadalupe meanders through sheer cliffs of limestone, passes through fields of shrub cedar and live oaks and provides sustenance for pecan and peach groves – and that’s just the flora and fauna. On the human side there are dance halls dating from the 19th century, swimming holes that are deep and cold, floating block tube parties and world class ski jumping competitions.